‘Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments.’ Development Matters, 2012
At the Cambridge Primary School, we intend to:
- Make every child’s first experience of school happy, safe, positive and fun with the welfare of the child central to our provision of care, learning and play.
- Value the individuality of the children and ensure that regardless of their needs, all learning opportunities allow access and opportunities to stretch and challenge.
- Enhance the natural curiosity every child starts their school journey with by providing a curriculum based on active learning in a stimulating environment that develops interest, excitement and motivation to learn.
- Foster and nurture children’s self-confidence so they are brave and recognise and fulfil their individual potential and special talents.
- Provide opportunities for children to take ownership of their learning and behaviour by making choices which will foster confident, independent and innovative learners and thinkers.
- Support children to develop care, respect and appreciation for the environment in which they live and for others, including those with beliefs, cultures and opinions different to their own.
- Promote collaborative learning by encouraging children to develop positive relationships with their peers and other members of the school community.
- Encourage parents and carers to become active partners with the school.
- Ensure there is a smooth and effective transition between Early Years and Key Stage 1.
At the Cambridge Primary School, our intent is implemented in accordance with the government’s document, ‘The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ (EYFS).
The Prime Areas of Development
These lay the foundations for children’s success in all other areas of learning and of life:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development (including making relationships, self-confidence & self-awareness and managing feelings & behaviour): This area focuses on children learning to work, play, build relationships, co-operate with others and function as a group beyond the family. Aspects of PSED are constantly promoted right across the curriculum as well as in specific activities, such as circle time and discussions promoting a positive sense of themselves.
- Physical Development (including moving & handling and health & self-care): Children develop physical control, mobility, awareness of space and fine and gross manipulative skills both inside and outside. Dance, gymnastics and small game apparatus are all used in the curriculum. Fine motor skills are developed to enhance the progression of writing including tracing, colouring, painting, cutting, threading, dough, clay and many other aspects of manipulative play.
- Communication and Language (including listening & attention, understanding and speaking): All children are encouraged to participate as speakers and listeners in a variety of situations and for a range of purposes and audiences, using and extending language in an imaginative way. They are taught to express their thoughts and feelings.
The Specific Areas of Development
These provide the range of experiences and opportunities for children to broaden their knowledge and skills:
- Literacy (including reading and writing): Reading and writing opportunities take place in a variety of ways, some teacher led and some child initiated. The children begin by singing, reciting nursery rhymes, rhyming games and identifying sounds through listening games. Children need secure skills in listening and hearing rhyming patterns if they are to make good progress in phonics and reading. After a brief settling in period, the children will begin learning the letter sounds and tricky words through the structured daily phonics program called ‘Letters and Sounds.’ Each week, the children will bring home a ‘phonics’ reading book that matches the sounds they know. They keep this book for a week and are encouraged to re-read it daily to develop word recognition, blending skills and subsequently fluency. They also bring home a ‘family’ reading book that can be changed daily and is at a higher level than the child can read independently. This book is to share as a family and develop a love of reading and books. Writing, in the form of mark-making, is encouraged from the time the children start at The Cambridge as a way of expressing themselves and recording meaning. The development of pre-writing skills and co-ordination are supported through fun, independent and regular adult led activities whilst children can practise their developing skills during meaningful play opportunities within in the learning environment. When ready, we teach the children to form letters using the cursive style.
- Mathematics (including number and shape, measure & space): This involves developing aspects of mathematical understanding through stories, songs, games, imaginative play and may other practical activities. Children learn about counting, sorting, matching, seeking patterns, making connections, recognising relationships and working with numbers, shape, space and measures. Problem solving skills are developed by real life situations, both spontaneous and planned.
- Understanding the World (including people & communities, the world and technology): This area includes Geography, History, Religion & World Views and Computing. From this area, children develop knowledge and understanding of their immediate and local environment and compare it to other environments around the world. They reflect on the people who are important in their lives both past and present. Children are involved in practical experiences which use investigative skills, such as observing, predicting, recording and communicating findings. Some of these experiences are child led and some begin with adult support before moving to independent enquiry.
- Expressive Arts and Design (including exploring & using media and materials and imagination): This area of learning and experience develops children’s imagination and ability to communicate and express ideas and feelings in creative ways both indoors and outdoors, through art, music, drama, dance and role play. Expressive arts and design activities involve designing and making by choosing and using appropriate materials and equipment to cut, join, fold and build.
Making every child’s first experiences of school a happy one begins before they step foot into the classroom, wearing their uniform on their first day. We strive to make sure that when children enter the Cambridge, they are full of positive emotions – excitement, confidence and happiness so they settle quickly into school, learning and developing from day one.
‘Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.’ Development Matters, 2012
At the Cambridge Primary School, it is our privilege to ensure that in a safe environment, we continue to encourage every aspect of a child to develop. This is regardless of starting point and by inspiring them to continue being curious and providing opportunities for their lively, enquiring minds to grow.
Curriculum and Environment
We aim to deliver an exciting, engaging curriculum that provides individual and appropriate challenge. This is through playful activities and rich learning opportunities which are relevant to all the children’s cultures and communities. Children will be supported to take risks in an environment which offers stimulating resources and encourages exploration.
We consider it is of vital importance that children learn and develop positive characteristics as individuals alongside academic knowledge and skills. These are qualities that will ensure they continue to learn and thrive throughout their school life and beyond. We foster the school’s own characteristics of being brave, innovative, collaborative and taking ownership:
We also encourage the Characteristics of Effective Learning, as outlined in the Development Matters Document (2012):
- Playing and exploring- (their engagement) – provided through a balance of adult led and child initiated planned, purposeful learning experiences.
- Active learning- (heir motivation) developed through providing opportunities where the children have some independence and control over their learning and activities, making decisions and taking ownership over their learning
- Creating and thinking critically (their thinking) – encouraging children to develop their own ideas, make links and decide ways of doing things. Adults support this and offer encouragement through clarification and open ended questions.
Parents as partners
We recognise and value the important role parents play in education as they know their child best. Consequently, we encourage parents to engage in an active partnership with the school. This results in a positive impact on the child’s development and parents that feel secure to share important information, seek advice, help and support should they need it. It helps the child to feel safe and secure while in the setting if they see that their parents feel comfortable there. It creates a shared level of expectation, improves the child’s outcomes and ensures every child has their individual needs met. The success of this strong partnership is based on a two-way flow of information, knowledge and expertise.
Transition to Year 1
Transition between year groups is an important step for children and we acknowledge that the step from Reception to Year 1 is a significant one due to the expectations of moving from the Early Years to the National Curriculum. There are many elements to ensuring children at The Cambridge experience a smooth and effective transition, as listed below, however we believe every child is unique, so the transition experience will be tailored to meet the child’s individual needs.
At The Cambridge Primary School, we adhere to the principles of assessment for learning. We analyse and review what we know about each child’s development and learning, and then make informed decisions about the child’s progress, this is based on ongoing observations of what the children know and can do. This enables us to plan the next steps to meet their development and learning needs. All adults who interact with the child contribute to the assessment process, this includes parent voice. Children are also encouraged to assess their own learning, primarily through discussion.
This type of assessment informs everyday planning and is based on on-going observational assessment of each child’s achievements, interests and learning styles. Formative assessment may take the form of anecdotal observations, focused observations, other focused assessments e.g. sound/number and high frequency words, annotated examples of independent work, photographs, and information from parents. We plan for observations when undertaking short term planning. Some of these observations and assessments are recorded using an online learning journey, Tapestry. Each child has a profile and the assessments are attached to that child’s profile.
Individual assessments are recorded using the Scholar assessment tracking tool for the EYFS. On-entry baseline assessments are entered into the system based on transition documents from pre-school settings and initial observations. During the year the children continue to be assessed against the development statements. This summarises all of the formative assessment undertaken and makes statements about the child’s achievements. It summarises children’s progress and allows the school to see if the children are making progress and working at an age appropriate level.
Class teachers, alongside Senior Leaders and the SENCO meet termly to review the attainment and progress of children and key groups of children. These meetings also review the actions put in place to support children who are not working at expected or are not making expected progress.
Further termly analysis of the assessment data by the Senior Leadership team, enables us to reflect on the EYFS profile to ensure the curriculum offered is accessible for all and meets the needs of the children.
Teachers participate in regular in-school, cross-academy trust schools and local authority group moderation meetings. This provides an external quality assurance and validation of our teacher assessments. The EYFS Profile data is analysed by the Head Teacher, the EYFS leader and the Governing body.
For more information about our school's EYFS outcomes, click here.